There was plenty of colour, fanfare and high quality football as Luton hosted the 2016 Shires Cup involving football teams from all over the country. The Barnfield West Academy was the venue for the 15 squad veterans one day tournament.
Hamid Yusuf’s Hunter & Bloomfield got off to a flying start with a 1-0 win, but two narrow losses and a last game draw saw the East Londoners eliminated. There were also impressive displays from Luton Vets, Birmingham Sonali Othith Jubo Dhol and MK Galacticos. Jubi Dhol went on to forge their way through to the final.
Sylhet FC were potent throughout, with cutting edge displays in every game often tearing up their illustrious opponents. When the attackers were quiet, defenders like Ruhul Alam switched positions effortlessly to score as the team ground out results.
A precursor to the coming BFA Summer League Cup final pitted Jamal Uddin’s Shadwell against Sylhet FC in a pulsating quarter final tie. A high tempo game finished 1-0 to Sylhet. It was a game that needed a moment of magic, and a spectacular last minute strike from Moin Miah beat Helal Uzzaman to ensure Sylhet marched on.
In the semis Sylhet went on to beat Abu Nasir’s very impressive LT Vets, who came together late to enter the showpiece tournament. Again, it was another last minute super strike that separated the teams. Sylhet went through to meet Bradford based Jubo Dhol in the final.
Both teams were playing their seventh game and energy reserves were low. Sylhet advanced with intent, but Jubo Dhol were resilient in defence. The game went to penalties. Both teams scored their first two penalties. Abdul Wadud put away the third for Sylhet. With the pressure on Jubo Dhol having to score, the spectacular Azizul Haque in the Sylhet goal saved the last penalty to crown his team Shires Cup champions.
Chair of the Shires Cup, tournament organiser Suto Miah, said, “It was a tremendous day. The performances were of a high standard and the spirit was fantastic throughout. I am very proud of our achievements here today. I thank our supporters, sponsors, teams and my volunteers for their tremendous efforts. 2017 will be even bigger and better.”
Abu Nasir, CEO of GSV Sports Management, was a tournament sponsor. He said, “Football is a catalyst for unity and togetherness. I am proud to not only be a sponsor but to have represented my team LT Vets who did tremendous to reach the last four. There was a healthy atmosphere all day and I would like to say well done to everyone who made this day such a big success.”
Sylhet player manager Kamal Chowdhury said, “It’s been a gruelling day and another trophy for our team. The boys were solid throughout and I think we deserved to lift the trophy based on our overall performances. We now prepare for another cup final in 24 hours.”
The referee’s unanimous choice for man of the tournament was Sylhet goalkeeper Azizul Haque.
Sylhet FC now play Shadwell Masters in the BFA Summer League Vets League Cup Final at Mile End Stadium tomorrow, Monday, 18th September. Kick off is at 5pm and entry is free.
Sylhet FC: 2016 Shires Cup Champions
Azizul Haque – Nozir Miah – Mukthadir Ali – Abdul Wadud – Abdul Sabur – Imdadul Haque – Jamil Ahmed – Sazzad Ali (C) – Moin Miah – SaIm Hussain – Ruhul Alam – Makbul Hussain – Kamal Chowdhury (player manager)
2016 Shires Cup Final Referee: